Sunday, 25 November 2012

Underneath by Michael Cargill

Title:  Underneath

Author:  Michael Cargill

Genre:  Thrilller

Pages:  122 (approx.)

Published:  June 2012

Available From:  Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Smashwords

Look at the person sitting just across from you. It doesn’t matter whether they’re a loved one, a friend, or a complete stranger.

Now look at their face. Are they happy? Are they sad? Or are they angry? Can you even tell?

How well do you actually know the people closest to you?

Have you ever seen the real person that lies just underneath what you see…?


“After finishing this book, I had to sit for a while and think about how I really felt about the story presented. It does take you to another level of thinking and wondering...What does the person you are in contact with at this moment really think underneath the exterior?”
K Meador

“The narration is split into two parts where you observe the main character of Hugh alongside two police officers, until ultimately the connecting segments join together in the most dramatic climax of an astonishing ending. I found the character of Hugh extremely fascinating and intriguing, as his dual personality was one that mesmerized and made me want to read on to find out more.”

“This story is cleverly written, it's rare that you can follow a character, get inside their head, dislike them intensely and then be completely surprised by a revelation that completely explains why they are the way they are. Hats off to Michael for his clever character portrayals.”

About the Author:

Michael works in IT by day, and has heard the words “Yuck, I hate computers” more times than he cares to count.

Although generally a fan of thriller-suspense stories, he is also something a WWII enthusiast. By this, he means that he likes reading about WWII; he has no desire to travel back in time, and actually be a WWII soldier. Everything was black and white back in those days, so telling the difference between a blood stain, and a coffee stain is almost impossible.

Michael is a new author, and he published his first story in mid-2011. Underneath is his debut novel, and he cites Stephen King, John Grisham, and James Herbert as influences.

Michael is as much a humorist as he is a novelist, and his website is chock full of hilariously irreverent and sarcastic articles.

Anyone looking to sample his work, should check out Shelter from Thunder. It is short, and available for free on Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble.

Interestingly, he thinks that authors should be more willing to embrace piracy. He uploaded his own work to numerous torrent sites, and links to them are available on his website.

Contact Info:  

Twitter:  @MichaelCargill1


 For most of the night he was friendly, charming and flirty. A couple of times, however,

she thought she saw something unsettling and sinister about him. It was something she

would never be able to actually explain, but it was as if she had seen another person

somewhere underneath his pleasant exterior. Someone who was snarling at her. Ready to

pounce. To smash her face, again and again, against the table if she didn’t give him what he

wanted. Or worse.

However, it was nothing more than a glimpse that she saw out the corner of her eye, and

when she looked back it was gone. It was just Hugh sitting there, smiling and laughing as he

always did. She put it down to nerves, and the fact that she was in an unfamiliar place with a

man she had only met the other day; the wine was also clouding her judgement.

After a while, she felt completely at ease in his company.

Later on, they went to another venue that had a dance floor. He whispered in her ear that

he also found the absence of her brassiere very liberating. She laughed, and playfully

slapped his hands away.

They walked back to his apartment, sliding across one or two car bonnets on the way. It

was late and dark when they got to the complex, so there was no-one hanging around

outside, but Hugh didn’t even notice. He was too busy giving Abigail a piggy back to care

about anything else. As they took the lift up to his floor, in the mirror’s reflection Abigail

thought she saw that sinister look on Hugh’s face once more. Yet when she looked back, it

was gone.

The lift doors opened and when they stepped out, Abigail saw some straws lying on the

floor of the corridor. She yelped in delight, and kicked at two that were lying right next to

each other. One of them shot off across the floor, whilst the other one looped up into the air

and hit her on the forehead. She screamed with laughter. Hugh couldn’t help, but smile.

“Where the bloody hell did they come from?” she asked.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Seven Day Loan by Tiffany Reisz

Seven Day Loan (The Original Sinners, #0.5)Seven Day Loan by Tiffany Reisz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this short story before reading The Siren, and now after reading some of the other reviews, I feel I am going to have to come back and re-read it after I have read The Siren. That being said, I enjoyed the short story anyway, even if, as the other reviews say, you should have read the other book first to fully understand the implications of what happened during the story.

A trained submissive, Eleanor will do whatever her master commands...even spend a week with a stranger. Eleanor was given to Daniel to 'keep him company' for a week while her master was away on business. Apparently Daniel and Eleanor's master are good friends, and the master thought Eleanor would be good for Daniel. Daniel, a former dom, takes to Eleanor and she to him.

The short story is well written and fun to read. Eleanor is a well-trained submissive with a bit of an attitude. I'm looking forward to reading more about her in The Siren.

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Wicked Weekend by Gillian Archer

Wicked Weekend (Pleasure Code, #1)Wicked Weekend by Gillian Archer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a quick, sexy story that was a lot of fun. Lauren was looking for a way out of her life for a short time; Jamie was looking for some fun. Lauren thinks she knows what she's getting into with Jamie, but ends up getting a whole lot more than she bargained for. Jamie opened her mind to a world she had only dreamed of before.

I loved this story enough to wish it had been longer. There was definitely enough hotness there for a full-length book. The characters were great and easily likable, and I could definitely see an interesting side story with Lauren's mother and sister. I would also love to have more of Sawyer! As there is a #1 behind this book, I will definitely be looking for more!

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Rape Girl by Alina Klein

Rape GirlRape Girl by Alina Klein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a relatively short story at just over 100 pages, but it really packed a punch. The story is about Valerie, your typical teenage girl who is looking for a good time just like everyone else. Her good time, however, ends with her being raped. We get to see very little of the events leading up to the rape, in fact, only a few hours. What this book deals with is the aftermath. You see rapes in books often, but never a book based specifically around the act.

Valerie's story, I suspect, is not that unusual. It was incredibly well written and very emotional. The author did not drag the story down with a lot of detail, but focused mainly on Valerie and her reactions to everything going on around her. It was heartbreaking reading about Valerie trying to 'get over it,' as the saying goes, and get back to her life. Because she chooses to face her attacker, she loses everything, including her reputation and her best friend.

I would have loved for this story to be longer so we could see where Valerie goes from here. She proves herself a strong individual and I would have loved to see a happy ending for her.

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Friday, 23 November 2012

Awakening the Mobster by Amy Rachiele

Awakening the MobsterAwakening the Mobster by Amy Rachiele
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The second book of the Mobster series picks up right where the first left off. I love Megan and Antonio! Their story is fun and romantic. I also loved getting to know Vito. He's a fun character and adds some laughs to the story.

This is a great series. The author does a great job of getting into mobster mode and making the thoughts, actions, and even the vocabulary seem real. There were many twists and turns in the story to keep me captivated. I just wish the books were longer! I am very much looking forward to see where this series goes.

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Seduced in the Dark by C.J. Roberts

Seduced in the Dark (The Dark Duet, #2)Seduced in the Dark by C.J. Roberts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I knew even before I picked up this book that it was going to mess with my mind. I had, after all, read the first book. Still, somehow I was not prepared. In the first book of The Dark Duet we were introduced to Livvie and Caleb, and I completely fell in love with them. Caleb, oh, Caleb. What are we going to do with you? In this second book, we see their "relationship" evolve into something dark, dangerous, and very unhealthy…for both of them. We learn about Caleb's past and why he is the way he is, and through everything, I cannot but help falling more and more for him. Yes, it's unhealthy. I get it. However, I completely understand Livvie and her way of thinking. We also find out in this book that Livvie is capable of doing what it takes to survive. She is a survivor.

Through flashbacks and bits and pieces of Livvie's present mind, a rather dark place to be, the author unfolds the rest of Livvie and Caleb's story. The author takes us on a journey through the world of sex slaves. The story is incredible, the writing is superb, and I cannot think of one negative thing to say about this book. The author has this knack of getting into her characters' heads that makes you, as the reader, live the story through the words on the page. Open your mind and give the story a chance. You will not regret it.

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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Love Unscripted by Tina Reber

Love Unscripted (Love, #1)Love Unscripted by Tina Reber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had a love/hate relationship with this book. I absolutely loved the first half, so I'll start there. Taryn is a fantastic character. She is a small-town girl who is tough, self-sufficient, and level headed. She is fun, not a Tom-boy but not girly-girly either. I love, love, love Ryan. He is a big shot movie star who does not like the fame. He has groupies following him everywhere, but deep down he's a quiet romantic who would like some privacy. When the two meet, it's just awesome. The two together are super fun. They have a playful, friendly relationship. Add in Taryn's friends, and we have a super fun story. Taryn and Ryan's getting to know each other phase was sweet and romantic. I loved getting to know them.

About halfway through the book things changed. Taryn went from tough, self-sufficient, and level headed to having this whole 'I'm not good enough for him" attitude that really got on my nerves. I get it. If I were dating a mega hot movie star (hmmm...daydreaming) I'd be jealous of him being in pictures with other girls or whatever. But she was getting jealous and/or upset over every little thing. It was way more annoying than sweet or romantic. The other thing I did not like was that this book was super long. The story was good and the writing was superb, but I felt there was a lot of filler that could have been left out and the book would have been just as good.

The story was maybe a bit predictable at times, but there was still enough unknown to keep me reading. As for the next book in the series...I can't decide whether or not I want to read it. Normally when I give a book 4 stars the next book is a must, but after reading the book description for Love Unrehearsed, it just sounds like a lot more of the same. If it's just going to be more of Taryn's insecurities, people trying to break them up, etc., I really am not interested. I guess we will see.

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Sunday, 18 November 2012

If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones

If I Were You (Inside Out Trilogy, #1)If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After inheriting a storage unit from a friend, Sara becomes obsessed with some journals she finds in the unit and decides she needs to find the owner. During her search, she meets the man she thinks may be the subject of the journals as well as another incredibly sexy man she cannot seem to stop thinking about.

I really like the characters in this story. We do not really know much about Sara, and I like how the author, rather than telling us her whole past right up front, made her past part of the secrets being unveiled through the story. She seems the shy, quiet "good girl" type, but as the story unfolds we find out she is able to stand up for herself and is not pushed easily. Chris is freaking awesome. I love him. He is Mr. Mysterious, sexy as hell, and carries a sexual tension with him everywhere he goes. The chemistry between him and Sara is fantastically erotic, but he has a way of putting her off balance that makes us as the reader never quite know where their story is going to go next. The rest of the characters at this point are rather remote thus far, but I'm sure hoping we will get to know more about them as the story goes on, particularly Mark.

This book gives us a glimpse into the world of BDSM, but really it's just a tease. The excerpts from the diaries are a great addition to the book. They show a world of danger, pleasure, pain, love, confusion that Sara just has to find. They make her feel like something is missing in her own life and she will not stop until she finds out exactly what it is. I am very much looking forward to the continuation of this series.

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Straight by the Rules by Michelle Scott

Straight by the RulesStraight by the Rules by Michelle Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Straight by the Rules is the third installment in the Lilith Straight series and is as great as the first two. The story follows Lilith as she desperately tries to balance her "normal" life with her succubus life. However, as she is sent on her crazy assignments she is finding this balance harder to find. I don't think I'll ever look at sushi the same way.

After her latest set of assignments, Lilith is more desperate than ever to get out of her contract as a succubus and will go to any lengths to find a way. As she tests the limits of her contract, she tries to stay true to herself as much as possible.

Oh yes, and we got some more William in this book. Who would not love to be seduced by him?

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Thursday, 1 November 2012

Traffic Jam by Melissa Groeling

Traffic JamTraffic Jam by Melissa Groeling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Traffic Jam is one of those books where you are not quite sure how it is going to end. Though the book was relatively short, there was plenty of drama and suspense to keep you interested. The book followed Val, a teenage girl who is a bit of a loner. I think a lot of teenage girls could understand Val. She fought with her sister, fought with her best friend, was too shy to tell a guy she liked him, and she kept secrets. However, she proves to everyone that, though at a shy and awkward age, when it comes to the important things like her family, she is determined to do the right thing and can hold her own when things get tough.
In addition to being a quick, entertaining read, Traffic Jam had life lessons implanted into it. Val learned throughout the story about family, trusting, and telling the truth, even if it hurts. The only thing that really bothered me about the book was the use of "dude." Once or twice would have been fine, but used at least once a page it really got annoying.

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Life of the Party by Christine Anderson

Life of the PartyLife of the Party by Christine Anderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Life of the Party is one of those books. You know the type…it makes you think, and I mean really think; it sticks with you long after you have finished because you have become invested in the characters; it makes you cry. I hate it when books make me cry.

Mac and Riley are best friends. Their favorite pastime is to get drunk and high. Hey, they're young, why not? Everything is great until Riley decided he needs to get clean. Mac, feeling abandoned by her best friend, delves deeper into the world of drugs, trying to forget Riley and everything that is wrong with her life.

I loved, loved, loved the characters in this book (which I guess is why I felt so much for them that I was bawling my eyes out by the end). The author let us get into Mac's head and really enjoy being there. Mac, though young and stupid and obviously making mistake after mistake, was real. She had real problems and real choices and real feelings. And Grey…I so love Grey. It is obvious from the way he treats her that he loves Mac, but he is young and free and has the world ahead of him, so of course he makes mistakes, too. When he realizes, however, that things have gone too far he does the only thing he can think of to fix it, even if it is the wrong thing. We do not see much of Riley for most of the story and mostly get to know him through Mac's feelings and memories of him. Though Mac feels he abandoned her, he had always been there just waiting for the right time.

I think the thing I really loved about this story was about how realistic it is. From Mac's mom and dad (just ignore the problem, it will go away) to her sister and Mac's feelings of inferiority around her (which I can relate to having two perfect older sisters myself) to the drug use. The author did an exceptional job (in my humble opinion) of detailing and describing Mac's drug use and feelings. I did find myself thinking a few times, can someone really use that much cocaine and still be alive/walking/standing/coherent? But, I have absolutely no first-hand knowledge of the subject so it could be true. Even if it's not accurate, the author did a great job faking it and making me believe it was real.

I sincerely hope this author writes more books in the future. I loved everything about this story from the characters to the story to the writing style. She is an amazing storyteller and I thank her for sharing her story with us.  

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